Bets on U.S. interest rate fuel volatility in foreign exchange markets

March 20th, 2015  // News

Indications that the U.S. Federal Reserve will move to raise interest rates, even as other major central banks continue loose monetary policies, has fueled volatility in the foreign exchange market. Currency markets had a period of relative calm when central banks lowered interest rates and provided liquidity to markets worldwide after the 2008 financial crisis. Read more

Fed edges closer to raising rates

March 19th, 2015  // News

The Federal Reserve signaled an increased likelihood of raising interest rates but said it has a less optimistic view of where the U.S. economy is headed. The policy committee said economic expansion has slowed due to a sluggish housing market and feeble export growth. The Fed said it doesn't intend to raise rates in April. Read more

Analysts pull back on Q1 earnings expectations

March 18th, 2015  // News

Analysts have revised the blended consensus growth outlook for Standard & Poor's 500 companies in light of declining energy prices, a strong dollar and shaky foreign markets, according to data by FactSet Research Systems. They now predict that first-quarter earnings will fall nearly 5% compared with a year ago. Read more

U.S. oil prices fall to lowest level in 6 years

March 17th, 2015  // News

The price of West Texas Intermediate crude, the main benchmark for U.S. oil supplies, fell to about $44 a barrel Monday, its lowest price in six years. The decline of U.S. and global oil prices continued as OPEC made public a report that suggested it is unlikely to do anything to put upward pressure on prices. Read more

U.S. hits statutory debt limit

March 16th, 2015  // News

The U.S. debt limit, which had been suspended since 2014, will be reinstated today. The Treasury Department will use "extraordinary measures" to make payments on the debt, but it's estimated the cap will need to be raised sometime in the fall. It remains to be seen whether Republican lawmakers will attempt to pair another piece of legislation with a debt-ceiling increase. Read more

U.S. household net worth reached record in 2014

March 13th, 2015  // News

U.S. households' net worth grew 1.9% to reach a record high of nearly $83 trillion in the fourth quarter, according to the Federal Reserve. The numbers aren't adjusted for inflation or population growth. Gains were powered by rising home and stock values. Read more

Most major banks pass Fed’s stress test

March 12th, 2015  // News

Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs Group and other major banks announced plans to increase dividends, buy back stock or both after the Federal Reserve announced stress-test results. The central bank approved the capital plans of 28 of 31 major banks. "This is a sign that the banks are really getting their ducks in a row," said Justin Ziegler of Aberdeen Asset Management. Read more

Markets react as Fed eyes removing “patient” from rate-hike language

March 11th, 2015  // News

At next week's policy meeting, the Federal Reserve could remove its promise to be "patient" from official language about raising short-term interest rates. That could pave the way to discuss a rate hike at its June meeting. That possibility, which could further strengthen the dollar, pummeled the stock markets Tuesday as the Dow Jones industrial average, the Standard & Poor's 500 index and the Nasdaq all fell. Read more

Abundance of U.S. jobs fails to ignite consumer economy

March 10th, 2015  // News

A strengthening U.S. job market isn't translating into much bigger paychecks, with 2% wage gains barely more than half the rate typically seen in a recovery. As a consequence, consumer spending remains tepid. And the reason may lie in other indicators, with lagging industrial activity and business investment as well as a scarcity of full-time jobs pointing to the likelihood of continued slow recovery. Read more

Major credit-reporting companies to make changes

March 9th, 2015  // News

Equifax Information Services, Experian Information Solutions and TransUnion will announce changes to the way they resolve disputes and handle unpaid medical bills in credit reports. Under the changes, the companies will have to use trained employees to review information customers submit when they believe there are mistakes in their credit reports. The changes are part of an agreement with the New York State attorney general. Read more

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